March 21, 2018

Hundreds rally in Abbeville for arrested Vermilion Parish teacher

13 January 2018, 08:37 | Israel Caldwell

Who Is Deyshia Hargrave? Louisiana Teacher Responds To School Board Meeting Arrest

'I'm appalled … and you should be, too': Vermilion Parish teacher speaks out after arrest

After the episode attracted widespread news media attention, the officer involved drew more scrutiny.

But Vermilion Parish Superintendent Jerome Puyau said he stands by the city marshal who removed the teacher from the public comment session of a school board meeting, CNN affiliate KATC reported.

The Abbeville City Marshal officer who sparked national outrage for arresting a Vermilion Parish school teacher Monday night after publicly cr... He arrested her and put her into a police vehicle, the video shows.

"In the event that an educator has the specialist to send an understudy, who is misbehaving and she can't control, out of the classroom to the central's office, under our approach we have similar guidelines", Fontana said. "It's sad that a woman has to be forcibly, violently removed from a board meeting for people to start caring".

Gov. John Bel Edwards, whose wife is a former teacher, said Wednesday on his call-in radio show that Ms. Hargrave shouldn't have been treated the way she was.

"I know there is going to be an investigation, but that was terribly unfortunate".

The Louisiana Association of Educators and Vermilion Association of Educators hosted the rally for Hargrave at 3:45 p.m. on Thursday, January 11 at Magdalen Square in Abbeville.

The American Civil Liberties Union and her teachers union are investigating Ms Hargrave's case. "The arrest of middle school educator and LAE and NEA member Deyshia Hargrave is a chilling infringement on her rights but educators will not be silenced".

"A superintendent or any person in a position of leadership getting any type of raise, I feel like it's a slap in the face to all the teachers, cafeteria workers, and any other support staff we have". So please don't let the conversation end with me.

Vermilion Parish School board president Anthony Fontana then declared that her comment was not "germane" to the vote on the contract, and banged his gavel in an attempt to silence her.

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Ms Hargrave said the blame for her arrest lies exclusively with Mr Fontana and called for him to resign. Puyau has since tearfully stated that he blames himself for this incident for not speaking up in Hargrave's defense at the time of her arrest. "I've never been handcuffed in my life".

Deborah Meaux, president of the state association, said Hargrave "spoke up".

"He needs training", Ms Hargrave said.

"I know it's not easy to get up and advocate", the mother wrote, adding she was "devastated watching the video of Deyshia and felt compelled to write this note of support".

During the meeting Ms Hargrave questioned Mr Puyau's raise given that teachers have not received an increase in 10 years, despite growing class sizes and other demands. She asked board members why they were raising the superintendent's pay - which was about $110,000 before the raise was approved at the meeting - when teachers had not received a raise for years. "I do not", the superintendent said.

At that point, according to school board member Kibbie Pillette, Fontana beckoned to a school resource officer hired by the board, who confronted Hargrave, ordering her to get her things and go. But she left the meeting when asked, and there is no evidence she resisted.

As the department prepares for an incoming winter storm that Chief Hartung calls "Snowpocalypse", the officers have dealt with an influx of spiteful comments, direct messages, and posts on its Facebook page.

Despite the backlash, Puyau has continued to defend his pay raise, telling CBS News that "it was time that we brought to the board a salary that's commensurate with what superintendents are making".

The video shows Hargrave getting handcuffed on the floor of a hallway.

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